Copyright law has received much attention in Finnish press for past 3 days.
The new Finnish copyright law is in its final stage in parliament. What started over 10 years ago in WIPO has lead to an evil law and citizens are protesting against it. Members of parliament are reported to receive over 600 e-mail a day about the new law and its flaws.
Citizens sending mail
The X-minister of culture Kaarina Dromberg who was responsible for the first version of the law
has said that the members of parliament are victims of e-mail terrorism. (see the update below) The current minister of culture x-miss Finland Tanja Karpela has said that there are certain forces behind the e-mail flood. She is right. The e-mails were send by worried normal citizens. The ones that voted the members to the parliament. The ones that have enjoyed freedoms of consuming copyrighted material. The citizens that are affected deeply by the new law that takes those rights away.
The leader of left wing party Suvi Anne Siimes said in her Blog that the citizens and members of parliament are late. The law has gone through committees where there was a chance to make changes. Member of Parliament Jyrki Kasvi notices that "If a member of parliament isn't a member of the committee they have only one chance to influence the law".
Law in different committees
The law has had mixed response from different committees. The constitutional committee said that consumers have right to make private copies of works that are they have legally bought. The culture committee didn't care. They didn't care to listen to the expert study by Marja Leena Mansala who said that citizen should have a right to bring couple (less than 10) Cd's to country with out showing where they bought them and their legality. Best of all the study was commissioned by minister of culture. The new law treats citizens as criminals from the beginning. It is up to you to show that you have a right to bring a CD from the common market of EU when you come back from your trip to say London.
Corruption and lobbying behind the scenes
The law was written 2002 when Dromberg was minister of culture. She had a special adviser Lauri Kaira who is currently manager of Finnish performance rights organization Gramex. His responsibility is "outside relationships". It is like the scene in lord of the rings. The king is without power, the land is weak and the special adviser hisses his message to ear of the king. Copyright is hard for most politicians to understand. The Industry lobby had their inside man to take advantage of the fact.
The Finnish press has also found out that the civil servant Jukka Liedes (also holds a high place in WIPO) who was responsible of the copyright chapter of the ministry has been in the board of ESEK. ESEK is part of GRAMEX the organization led by Lauri Kaira. ESEK is responsible for distributing GRAMEX monies for the artists. Law professor Olli Mäenpää is saying in Tietokonelehti, that it doesn't sound right that there is such connection with the industry and the civil servant.
Update: Dromberg send a correction to my post: "Haluan hieman oikaista väitettä, jonka mukaan pidän tekijänoikeuslakisähköposteja lähettäneitä kansalaisia terroristeina. En tiedä, mistä väite on peräisin. Suurin osa saamistani viesteistä on ollut asiallisia, eikä minulla suinkaan ole mitään sellaista palautetta vastaan. Joukkoon mahtuu kuitenkin myös haukkumisia ja haistatteluja. Kyseisiä viestejä kritisoin ja toivon niiden lähettäjille hieman harkintakykyä."
English summary (my translation): "I have no idea where the terrorism claim came from. Most of the e-mails I have received have been OK, but some were impolite. I am critisising the latter ones and would hope that the senders would think before sending them."